Time to eat your seeds
It’s seed season.
The Rose "seeds" (hips) have pretty much gone by, but apple seeds and pumpkin seeds are abundant as we stare the long white season in the face.
Nature seems to’ve thought things out pretty well, providing foods at the right time of the year for us Earthlings. Starting out with the mighty dandelion that, so wrongly maligned as the peskiest of weeds, is a powerhouse of vitamins and minerals.
Among the most beneficial of its qualities is to get the winter sludge flushed through our system, especially the urinary track, which is why, in France it is also referred to as "pissenlit" (pee in bed). One of the best spring tonics, every single stage and part of the dandelion is useful for food — and a great white wine — and listed in herbals as a preventive "medicinal" for just about anything and everything that might ail us. I have a suspicion that, here in the northeast, the delectable fiddlehead that pops up before the dandelion, has valuable properties as well, other than just as a food, but it hasn’t been "studied" because it can’t be patented, and therefore not lucrative. Indeed, most of the country hasn’t a clue what a fiddle head is. And along with the dandelion for clearing the system was Grammie Tucker’s spring dose of "sulfur and molasses."
Now, with harvest time winding down, we gather the crisp apples for a feast of "apple a day," apple pies, apple crisps and glistening jars of applesauce for the coming months, as well as pumpkins, we should not forget the "preventive medicine" packed inside their seeds.
Apples come supplied with just the right dose of seeds. The saying “An apple a day keeps the doctor away” should have “and their seeds” tacked on the end. Also, with apple seeds, we need to remember to eat only the amount provided in the apple at one time.
My favorite part of the pumpkin is the seeds. Pumpkins are indigenous to the Americas. Seeds have been found from 10,000 years ago! One pumpkin can provide quite a haul. I scoop those out, get them separated from the guts, wash them, pat dry, spray with a bit of coconut or peanut oil, sprinkle lightly with sea salt and garlic salt and roast to light brown in a low heat oven. I pour them in glass jars for winter snack but they’ve never lasted long enough to get into winter. They’re rather like potato chips or fresh, ripe cherries. You can’t eat just one.
But maybe that’s the way we’re supposed to eat them, providing the body with a plethora of preventive medicines. They’re especially touted to prevent, kill intestinal worms.
The amazing pumpkin seed is jam packed with nutrients from A to Z, including most of the B vitamins, as well as vitamins C, D, E and K. They are also packed with minerals like calcium, potassium and phosphorous. And that’s just half of the benefits from the mighty pumpkin seed — too much to cover here, but, hey, you’ve got Google at your fingertips.
During the rest of the year, I get salted pumpkin seeds and, my favorite, pepitas, to snack on. Pepitas are green, salted, shelled pumpkin seeds. Hard to find here in Maine, pepitas is Spanish for pumpkin seed — “little seed of squash”. These shelled seeds take the work out of eating them. They are delicious.
The Spanish use them in many recipes. My favorite way of eating them, other than just a snack, is sprinkled on salads. Oh, that reminds me — it’s also sunflower seed time, if you can beat the birds and raccoons, they are also jam packed with "medicine.” Use them like pumpkin seed for a snack and over salads.
So don’t throw away those apple and pumpkin and sunflower seeds — but remember, with apple seeds, eat only the few that come with the apple you’re eating at the time. Too much a good thing can kill you. Apple seeds have a minute amount of cyanide in them. Nature’s "vaccine” without the mercury, aluminum and other poisons that are in our modern vaccines?
The watchword: “All things in moderation.” Davy Crockett, who fought bear and Indians, supposedly died from eating too many sweet potatoes, one of his favorite foods, in one sitting, causing acute indigestion.
Marion Tucker-Honeycutt, an award-winning columnist, is a Maine native and graduate of Belfast . She now lives in Morrill.